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IBM Watch


IBM has developed a way of manipulating the layers of silicon within computer chips to enable atoms to move faster. If the components of silicon are stretched, rather than reduced in size as they usually are, the electrons passing along the material encounter resistance due to the atoms being further apart. This reduced resistance allows electrons to pass more freely along the silicon, thus increasing their speed by as much as 70%.

Silicon chips comprises layers of different materials upon which rest atoms. A natural alignment of these atoms causes resistance for the electrons that pass along the layer. Thus, if the base layer has a make-up of atoms with more space in between, then any layer of silicon placed on the top will slightly deform due to the natural migration of the atoms towards each other – hence, the stretching. Electrons can move more freely due to less resistance from the atoms.

This method of material manoeuvre is relatively inexpensive and not difficult to operate; however, further tests are required to ensure that displacement between the layers of silicon does not occur. It has been estimated that if tests are successful, this could be available commercially after 2003!


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